Stephen
O'Reilly
The Functional Longevity Coach®
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The Edge Program - Genesis of a New Approach - Part 1

Updated: Jun 13



‘The Edge Program’ was devised out of personal necessity nearly 20 years ago. The reason being life had quite simply become a bit of a runaway train in terms of eating up the hours in the day. It happens to everyone at some point.


Prior to this I had heard from my clients many times, how the first thing to slide when their lives got really busy, had been their exercise program and their diet. They often expressed this was one of their biggest regrets, because doing this had led to subsequent health issues. Back then, whenever I heard this I had always put it down to a lack of will power, and was certain that it would never happen to me. After all, I was a professional at this.


I would soon learn that naivety and arrogance are a potent mix of stupidity.

In my 20’s and early 30’s I never had just one career…it had been what some describe as a portfolio career. I was a Close Protection Operative, a career I dropped in and out of at various points in 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. I also ran a Personal Protection Training company that trained everybody from frontline service personnel to civilians. I even had a period of working in the corporate world as a consultant to some of the largest law firms in the world.


Concurrent with all of these I went to college part-time and I took private clients as a Trainer/Nutrition coach and NLP therapist. Call it the symptom of a restless mind or abundant energy, I enjoyed the challenge of pushing myself in different directions.


Throughout those demanding years I had managed to keep training, and eating, what I considered at the time, to be a pretty healthy diet.


As my third decade dawned, I went through some particularly stressful challenges in both my personal life and with work. There were extended periods of heavy travel, irregular hours, and of unpredictability in life. My weight began to fluctuate up and down a bit due to the fact I could not exercise or eat in the manner I had been doing previously. In fact, my life began to resemble what I often described back then as a ‘normal’ life…exercising 2-3 times a week and eating a mixed diet of natural food and manufactured or processed food.


Suddenly within the space of a year I began to see negative changes in health biomarkers, things like increases in bodyfat, in blood pressure, and cholesterol profile changes, etc.


I started to see the same ageing issues that I had seen in my peer group. I started to suffer colds, headaches and digestive problems.


These were things that I had previously appeared to be impervious to. Which was something I had always put down to my approach to exercise and nutrition.


It was terrifying to see just how quickly the negative effects of living a ‘normal’ life manifested themselves within my body. I felt I was just too young to be deteriorating in health like this already. The situation was something I just wasn’t prepared to accept.


I knew the cause was a combination of the hectic way I was living and the fact that my exercising and eating habits had changed. I was also aware that I the demands on my life and time were unavoidable at that point…it was just impossible to find more time.


No longer could I spend hours training everyday, nor could I spend hours every night preparing the next day's meals, let alone cart half a dozen plastic lunchboxes around with me all day. It was just not practical... it didn't work anymore, not if I wanted a life too.


I knew I needed to find another way to reap the health benefits of exercise and good nutrition, but in a way that fitted into a busy lifestyle.

Now they say everything happens at the right time in your life for a reason, and I think in this case it was very true. I knew I needed to find another way to reap the health benefits of exercise and good nutrition, but in a way that fitted into a busy lifestyle.



Now they say everything happens at the right time in your life for a reason, and I think in this case it was very true.


Over the course of the previous 14 years I had used an approach I believed to be the most effective way to train. It was an approach that was the result of having pretty much experienced every way of training and exercising out there. I tried and tested every training program, every theory, every ‘latest scientific breakthrough’ pushed by the fitness industry. Nutrition was the same, I had tried every diet, some out of choice, some not.


During that period I had returned to college on two occasions to study degrees related to health, one of which was Nutritional Therapy.



As part of the experiential learning for this course you had to try every diet that was popular in the marketplace. So I tried them all. I lived for periods of time on meat-based diets, on veggie-based diets, on fruits, on high fats, on low fats. I Lived on cabbages, grapefruits, and various other single nutrients for periods as per the popular selling fad diet books that were around. I suffered mood swings and mental fog from living in a state of ketosis, I suffered constipation, I suffered water bloating, and I even fasted on just water for a week. All in the name of research. There wasn’t much I hadn’t tried.


So when I had finally settled on an approach, it was based on a lot of experience and research, and a process of discarding everything that I had found personally not to work. The methods I finally chose at the time were based around existing concepts, principles and approaches, that were standard within the fitness industry, the exercise science community, and followed the western medical paradigm relating to nutrition and health.


However, to say I was naive about the biased research that existed within sports science community, or the clever marketing tactics of the fitness industry, would be an understatement. My thinking was also still very constrained by western medical and scientific paradigms.


On top of that I, like everyone else, had my own personal insecurities and immature intellect clouding my judgement. Mix that all together and I’m surprised I found an approach that yielded any results at all.


However, I did find one, and I believed at the time it was the best solution to achieving my objectives. I also felt enough confidence in it that I coached my private clients with the same methods…and achieved a degree of success with it. The results was just nowhere near the level I would achieve later with clients.


But right now I had a real dilemma. This approach, the only approach I had ever found to work, just didn’t fit into my life any more!


#theedgeprogram #livelean #livelong #livestrong #livetrue

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